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AZE

Azerbaijan: Authorities using smear campaign to silence women activists - new briefing

Women's movement in Azerbaijan
Women's movement in Azerbaijan © Ulviyya Ali

More than two dozen women targeted by government-backed smear campaign Private photos and intimate conversations made public, and women labelled ‘bad wives’ and ‘bad mothers’ ‘This is part of a deliberate strategy to muzzle critics of the Government’ - Natalia Nozadze Women who have played a prominent role in campaigning for women’s rights in Azerbaijan are being subject to reprisals and threats, Amnesty International said in a new briefing today (12 May). In the new briefing, Azerbaijan: Gender-based reprisals against women must stop, Amnesty shows how the Azerbaijani authorities have sought

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Azerbaijan / Armenia: Scores of civilians were killed in 'indiscriminate' attacks - new report

© Amnesty International

On-the-ground investigation into dozens of attacks, including with cluster munitions Evidence refutes both sides’ denials over attacks that killed at least 146 civilians Aysu Iskandarli, 7, killed by Armenian forces while playing on a swing in her garden Arkadi Lalayal, 69, killed by Azerbaijani forces as he stood on his apartment balcony Armenian and Azerbaijani forces’ repeated use of notoriously inaccurate and indiscriminate weapons - including cluster munitions - in civilian areas killed scores of civilians, injured hundreds and destroyed homes and key infrastructure in the recent conflict

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Armenia/Azerbaijan: Decapitation and war crimes in gruesome videos must be urgently investigated

Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh on outline map
Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh on outline map © Viacheslav Lopatin/Getty

Amnesty confirms war crimes committed by Both Azerbaijani and Armenian forces during recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Twenty-two videos analysed by Amnesty depict killings, beatings and desecration of dead bodies ‘The depravity and lack of humanity captured in these videos shows the deliberate intention to cause ultimate harm and humiliation to victims’ - Denis Krivosheev Both Azerbaijani and Armenian forces committed war crimes during recent fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, Amnesty International confirmed today, after verifying videos showing the decapitation of captives and the desecration of

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HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER SENTENCED TO PRISON

Human rights defender sentenced to prison

Elchin Mammad
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Please note that there is no email address to reach the target. Please use the following online form to send your appeal letters to the target online: https://en.president.az/letters/new_form

 

Elchin Mammad is the president of the Social Union of Legal Education of Sumgait Youth, an NGO providing free legal assistance to families on low income.He is also the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Yukselish Namine. In 2014 the authorities launched criminal investigation targeting several NGOs, including Social Union of Legal Education of Sumgait Youth. Elchin Mammad was summoned and questioned several times by Sumgait police and placed under travel restrictions in connection with the investigation. In 2015 he was detained for 12 hours and released without charges, after he had taken part in the session of the Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe (PACE).

In 2013, the government of Azerbaijan started a widespread crackdown on civil society, arresting prominent government critics, including human rights defenders and political activists, on fabricated charges, mostly of financial irregularities. Spurious charges of economic crimes and “abuse of authority” are commonly used in Azerbaijan to incarcerate leaders of independent NGOs and other critics of the authorities. Amnesty International has documented arbitrary application of criminal law in recent years in relation to some of the government’s most prominent critics including human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers. The authorities have recently stepped up crackdown on critics again using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse.
 

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Armenia/Azerbaijan: First confirmed use of cluster munitions by Armenia 'cruel and reckless'

© Vice News

Amnesty verifies use of banned cluster bombs by Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict At least 21 people killed and 70 more injured after yesterday’s attack ‘The firing of cluster munitions into civilian areas is cruel and reckless, and causes untold death, injury and misery’ - Marie Struthers **Pictures available** Amnesty International has verified the use of banned cluster bombs by Armenia for the first time in the current Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, following an attack on the city of Barda in Azerbaijan. Yesterday (28 October), at approximately 1.30pm local time, one or several Smerch

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Armenia/Azerbaijan: Use of artillery salvos and ballistic missiles in populated areas must stop immediately

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan must immediately stop the use of heavy explosive weapons with wide-area effects in densely populated civilian areas, Amnesty International warned today. Experts from Amnesty International’s Crisis Response team have examined available evidence which strongly suggests the use of ballistic missiles and notoriously inaccurate rocket artillery salvos that have caused civilian deaths, injuries and widespread damage in recent days, in apparent violation of international humanitarian law. Civilian casualties and severe damage to civilian buildings were reported most

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OPPOSITION LEADER FIGHTING SENTENCE

Opposition leader fighting sentence

Tofig Yagublu
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Tofig Yagublu is a journalist and a prominent member of opposition party Musavat and he has faced years of harassment for his peaceful activism.

He was first arrested in 2013 after traveling to the city of Ismayili, in northern Azerbaijan, on 23- 24 January 2013, to observe demonstrations and riots that were taking place there at the time. In March 2014, following unfair trial under politically-motivated charges, the Shaki Court of Grave Crimes found him guilty of inciting mass violence and sentenced him to five years in prison. Amnesty International recognised Tofig Yagublu prisoner of conscience. 

On 5 November 2015, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that by depriving Tofig Yagublu of his liberty without having reasonable suspicion of a criminal offense, Azerbaijan violated his rights under Article 5 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights (Yagublu v. Azerbaijan, application no. 31709/13). Tofig Yagublu was released in March 2016 under a presidential pardon after spending more than three years in prison. 

In October 2019, he was placed in “administrative detention” for 30 days for purportedly failing to obey police orders, at a peaceful protest rally brutally dispersed by police. Tofig Yagublu alleged that he was subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while in detention, but his allegations have never been effectively investigated. 

For years, Amnesty International has been documenting human rights violations in Azerbaijan. The rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly have been severely restricted and many journalists, human rights defenders and other activists have faced harassment, prosecution under false charges and imprisonment following unfair trials. According to Azerbaijani human rights defenders, currently, around 100 individuals remain in prisons or in detention following arrest under politically motivated charges. This practise has repercussions throughout civil society in Azerbaijan, creating a climate of fear and self-censorship. As the arrests and politically motivated prosecution of critics continue, Azerbaijan remains closed to human rights scrutiny. International human rights monitors, including Amnesty International, have been denied access to the country for several years.
 

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ACTIVIST RELEASED FROM PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL

Activist released from psychiatric hospital

Agil Humbatov and his children
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PSYCHIATRIC DETENTION FOR CRITICIZING THE PRESIDENT

Psychiatric detention for criticizing the president

Agil Humbatov and his children
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Arbitrary detentions of government critics are commonplace in Azerbaijan. Numerous activists, opposition members, journalists and human rights defenders have been prosecuted for merely exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and detained and imprisoned under politically motivated charges.

Recently, the Azerbaijani authorities have used the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to lock up a growing number of their critics. On 19 March, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev announced “new rules” for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, and promised to “clean up” Azerbaijan’s political opposition, which he called traitors and “the fifth column”. (https://en.president.az/articles/36212). Arrests of high-profile political activists and human rights defenders under spurious charges have followed the President’s pronouncement, including the arrest of opposition activist Tofig Yagublu on charges of hooliganism (https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/EUR55/2029/2020/en/) and human rights defender Elchin Mammad on charges of theft (https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur55/2069/2020/en/). 

More than a dozen individuals, comprising of political activists, journalists, human rights defenders and others who dared to criticize the authorities’ handling of the pandemic have been detained and remanded in so-called administrative detention for periods ranging from 10 to 30 days on bogus charges, including disobeying police orders or breaking the rules of lockdown. (https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/EUR5524122020ENGLISH.pdf).

As the arrests and politically motivated prosecution of critics continue, Azerbaijan remains closed to scrutiny from independent human rights monitors, including Amnesty International, who have been denied access to the country for several years.
 

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HARASSMENT OF ACTIVIST AND FAMILY MUST STOP

Harassment of activist and family must stop

Ilkin Rustamzade
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Ilkin Rustamzade, an activist and then member of the pro-democracy youth group NIDA, was arrested in March 2013 on fabricated charges of hooliganism. He had allegedly posted a satirical video on YouTube. Authorities later added charges of inciting violence and organizing mass disorder for planning a peaceful protest rally in 2013. In May 2014 he was sentenced to eight years in prison following an unfair trial, together with seven other members of NIDA. He spent six years in prison and was released on 17 March 2019 further to a presidential pardon, but his unfair convictions were not quashed.

On 7 March 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) had ruled that Ilkin Rustamzade was detained unlawfully, in violation of his right to liberty and security under Article 5.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

Recently, the Azerbaijani authorities have used the COVID-19 pandemic to increasingly crack down on their critics.

On 19 March 2020, in his Novruz Bayrami greetings to the nation President Ilham Aliyev announced “new rules” for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic including “isolating” and “clearing” Azerbaijan’s already fragmented political opposition (https://en.president.az/articles/36212). High-profile arrests of political and civil activists under spurious charges have followed the president’s pronouncement, including the arrest of opposition activist Tofig Yagublu on charges of hooliganism (https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/EUR55/2029/2020/en/) and human rights defender Elchin Mammad on charges of theft (https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur55/2069/2020/en/). 

As the arrests and politically motivated prosecution of critics continue, Azerbaijan remains closed to human rights scrutiny. International human rights monitors, including Amnesty International, have been denied access to the country for several years.
 

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